Revisiting Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere'

Revisiting Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere'

The heart that lies within one of my favorite books
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I should reveal the fact that for a substantial period of my life, I was what is known as a “Tumblr girl.” For a while after I grew out of my stigmatized fangirl role, I remained on the site with a new focus on aesthetics and seeking all I found beautiful. One of the most notable aesthetic Tumblr sites was called Flowury and was run by a girl named Bean.

Bean, as many Tumblr girls with large followings tended to be, was a bit of an egotist and spent hours publically answering questions from her fans. I typically scrolled past all of these discussions, uninterested in other people’s silly requests for advice and suggestions from a girl who was likely younger than they were. However, someone asked Bean one day what her favorite book was and for once, I was intrigued by what her response would be. Without providing a lot reasoning, she explained that she had recently read and fallen in love with Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere.” Even more intrigued by this passionate yet vague response, I decided to give the book a try myself.

Simply put, the entirety of the book reads like the way watching a movie feels. The way in which Gaiman writes invites readers not just to envision London Below in their heads, but to feel everything as if they themselves are experiencing the wonders and horrors of this new world. We follow Richard Mayhew, a young businessman who encounters a weak and bloodied young girl on the sidewalk. The morning after he helps Door by bringing him back to her apartment, she is fully recovered and Richard has seemingly been erased from his life. He’s forced to find her in the second city of London which exists below the sidewalks of the city we (as readers) all know. Together, Richard and Door face the classic adventure trials: beast fighting, backstabbing, kidnapping, casual angel-killing, sexy vampires, rat kingdoms, and assassins. Together, they also come out changed for the better.

After recently reconnecting with a friend who is best described as one of my “writer friends” (despite any and all pretension), I couldn’t stop returning to “Neverwhere,” albeit not for the obvious memory lane sentiment. Growing up, I wrote frequently and consistently (enough, evidently, to have writer friends), all primarily fiction. Yet, I hadn’t realized how little I wrote for fun in college until she asked what I had written recently and all I had to show were my essays and research papers. I began to miss not just actual writing itself, but the art and the power of a story, my favorite of which being that in the novel.

I realized only recently that the way in which we explain ourselves is typically through the stories we tell. And the way in which we tell these stories -to each other, to the world, to the readers of this article- is where it gains its power to inspire, shape or change others. So I asked myself, in this wild pit of existentialism and revived sense of creativity: why did the story of “Neverwhere” still to this day hold so much power over me? It was just a random story from an offhand mention in someone’s post not directed at or pertaining to me in any way.

What this latest reflection has made me realize is that for the first time, I’ve fallen in love with a story rather than ideal. “Neverwhere” doesn’t promote any romantic relationship or paint Richard as a character to fall in love with. Instead, Door is an autonomous figure who keeps fighting on despite facing unbelievable hardship, and Richard’s character growth and ultimate self-actualization are glorified rather than his romantic potential. It holds so much power because it holds just as much meaning. At the heart of the novel, it turns out, was what I always needed to read but never knew I was looking for.

Cover Image Credit: Emily Sharp

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.
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Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

Cover Image Credit: http://nd01.jxs.cz/368/634/c6501cc7f9_18850334_o2.jpg

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13 Quotes For All Of Us Empowered Female-Identifying People Out There

For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

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For the days when you need to be reminded that you are really doing the dang thing and doing it well.

1. Do you really need someone else's permission, acceptance, wink, or nod, or are you ready to give these to yourself? -The Universe

I get notes from the Universe everyday and all of them are so amazing and inspiring. There might be a few of them on this list. You can sign up for your own notes from the universe here.

2. The princess saves herself in this one. -Amanda Lovelace

The quote is based off a book called The Princess Saves Herself In This One, which is a collection of poetry about resilience, you can get the book here.

3. I'm made of more than you think. -Snow White, Mirror, Mirror

4. Other people's perception of you ain't none of your business. -Lisa Nichols

CLAPPING HANDS EMOJI.

5. Do you realize how many events and choices that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading to the making of just exactly the way you are? -Mrs. Which, A Wrinkle In Time

I love this because it really hits home how so many right and wrong decisions led to the creation of you and how you should appreciate the good and the bad because without either of them you wouldn't be exactly who you were supposed to be.

6. You can't stop what's done to you. You can only survive it. -Rachel, Georgia Rule 

This brings up an important theme of my life that I'm still trying to figure out. The only thing you can control in your life is how you react to what happens to you.

7. Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. -Patrick Verona, 10 Things I Hate About You

8. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. -Queen Clarisse, The Princess Diaries

9. No trifling of the past, no matter how great, can tarnish the brilliance of eternity. -The Universe

10. People who are insignificant to your future shouldn't have an impact on your present.

Someone once told me this, and although I can't remember the person, this quote has always stuck with me.

11. Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. -Lady Gaga

You know what... I think she was talking about you.

12. Tell yourself it's easy. Tell yourself often. Make it an affirmation. Eat, sleep, breathe it, and you life shall be transformed. -The Universe

13. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. -Mark Twain 

Go on then, be empowered and trust your instincts, you've got big things coming... I can tell.

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